These inclusive teachers are making art therapeutic for kids
Creativity is latent in all of us. For some, it's an avenue for expression and for others, it's a lifeline. We spoke with teachers from diverse backgrounds to get a glimpse into how art can be a transformative experience and bring joy into a young person's life.
Cobalt Blue Foundation
Updated: October 30, 2019 5:42:41 pm
Ruchi is a visual artist-cum-practicing counselling psychologist, working in the area of art therapy and mindfulness. Sundeep has done his masters in narrative environment design and is an expert in storytelling and mythology. Together, their vision is to build a community of knowledge exchange by blending the techniques of storytelling, art and cognitive science. They design engaging workshops which both children and parents can attend, and benefit by bonding with each other. They are in the midst of an exciting project with Shiv Nadar Foundation, which is about personality development through art therapy. In the past, they have conducted sessions for kids with learning disabilities with Neemrana Hotels and UNESCO, educating parents from rural areas about why some kids are different but deserving, and can be helped with specific intervention.
Source : Cobalt Blue Foundation
Ruchi remarks, “Very often, kids are not encouraged to express freely where the environment is authoritarian. As a result, various issues crop up later in teenage. Art is intuitive. It’s a happy medium for the most non-verbal of kids, where they like to come up and speak about their creations. All our sessions are interactive and there’s group participation where people do hands-on exercises, use body movements and verbal expressions.”
She shares, “Just recently, a teacher was concerned about a girl who was anxiety-ridden and wouldn’t open up in class. In our workshop, she was very quiet in the first few exercises. But as we progressed and asked the kids to design their own superhero, she came up with this fairy that she imagined herself to be. She spoke very fluently and passionately about her creation. Her teacher was seriously surprised.”
Sundeep adds, “Ages one through five are when our subconscious is formed. We’re informed and influenced by our parents and teachers. Unfortunately, not all of us have demonstration of affection or empathy around us. A child could have gone through the pain caused by bullying or rejection. As a result, he doesn’t know how to love himself. Through guided exercises, we make children aware of themselves and gently direct them towards healing via expressing their inner thoughts and repressed desires. This can help them to manage anxiety or come to peace with certain issues.”
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SARAH AHMAD | 18 SEPTEMBER, 2019
The Art of Salvation
“Good art challenges the status quo of society”
The lights are quiet, waiting to be accepted in a room full of dense conversations, lost among the murky dialogues of the earthly beasts and the stubbornness of an impending shadow. The lights fight the darkness, the darkness holds on, the lights fade away, leaving behind a twilight of despair, replacing the quiet calmness of hope with the anarchy of hate. We are creatures of the things we pass by, listen to, things and thoughts that govern us. And in this place of dirt and mobbing is an unescapable truth of the death of love – pay heed to the sinful shores of voiceless disarray, pay heed to the demise of parity, peace and art.
Yet in these troubling times there are saviours, saving us from the ordeals of the times we live in, showing us the way through spiritual, arty, inspirational collectives. And sharing the multitude of possibilities a piece of art or a few creative moments could generate when rightly communicated, understood and widely talked about.
A not for profit: Cobalt Blue Foundation is consistently working towards a future that would create a firm platform for art, storytelling and therapy in India and take Indian heritage and art to the world. Founded by Ruchi Goyal Kaura – a visual artist, art therapist and counselling psychologist and Sundeep Verma – an author, graphic novelist and storyteller, the foundation intends to become the citadel for dealing with modern world issues through the creative modes of storytelling, art and mythology. “Since our launch in the summer of 2018 we have formed a community of people with common interests.” says Sundeep.
One of their art-based programs called the Art of Seeing & Beyond Mythologies, is an endeavor to connect people to museums and engage them with artworks & sculptures through immersive storytelling. “Many of these people go back and bring others to the museum on their own because they feel empowered to share their knowledge of museum objects with others,” states Sundeep. “We are collaborating with Kiran Nadar Museum, Sahapedia & UNESCO for the same.”
Their workshop: Expressive Arts Therapy Program uses art & therapy to help people deal with their anxieties, conflicts & stress in a fun and insightful manner, and the Art of Connection is a workshop on love and human relationships. One of their more significant educational programs, affecting the working of a daily school life in India, is called Pursuit: Alternate Learning Methods, where they train teachers and students to learn various subjects using art and storytelling as a method of teaching & learning.
The Speak Art meet brings together art lovers & artists who could then share their work and thoughts with each other. It’s a platform for different minds coming together for the common love of art.
Art comes in as a rescuer and protector of rich philosophies, history, and an emotional, spiritual, creative past and present in a world which is becoming deeply devoid of life free of hunger, poverty, war and hate. Art is the redeemer, the spirited warrior in a garb of vivid words, forms and appearances.
“Good art challenges the status quo of society. It provokes, reflects and provides alternate perspectives on society. Every great piece of art has contributed in altering our perceptions, perspective and self-knowledge that in turn shapes the society at large,” states Sundeep.
Free ourselves from the bane of the world we live in, fly, fly away into a field of nothingness, then fill it with brush strokes, and little artefacts of the years gone by, yarns from Grandma’s beautiful closet, scents from the shelves that opened half, letters from under foamy soft mattresses, dried crumbs from the kitchen trunk, whisk of a chiffon saree, tresses of a new bath, unshackled thoughts from the 80s, whispers of cigarette stubs and notions lacking hate, only garden of roses and a Subodh, a Karim, a Ram, a Rahim, a Stephen, a Church, a Temple, a Mosque, and Oms and biryanis and Salaams, all together, all in one pretty sentence of unity and peace.
Put these thoughts together and carve out a piece of art. Narrate stories of what had been and what is, of people’s prolific voices and poignant things of the past. Make art, then build museums within you – protected, untouched, free – now bring the predators to these unprejudiced galleries and show them what was and what could be: we are art in motion, yet lights lost in dark spells.
Upcoming Event/Workshop by Cobalt Blue Foundation
Indus: Tracing the Lost Civilization on 13th October at The National Museum, Janpath Road, New Delhi, between 2-5pm
SARAH AHMAD | 3 APRIL, 2019
Echoes and Reveries of Art Today: Art of Seeing in Delhi
"Art an unbreakable dialogue with all things it is surrounded by"
We all have two sides, one who we are right now, and the other we notice at a life-changing incident, at the passing of a loved one; among all the pretence, posing and ordinary pursuits, we sometimes live this other side too.
It glides over us, even when we are being our worldly selves, often suspended in a deeper planet, a hidden identity, only facing the truest traits of the world, the deepest pains, the sharpest emotions – a closest performance of thy self.
Yet here we are, in a world which constantly makes us who we must be, to face the malice and the superficiality of a community, a government, a clan.
Art often breaks these shackles and transports us to this other, truer world, and takes us through the many expressions of a broken, bonded society – and sometimes to a free, idealistic and liberated world. It comes with all the whatifs, whys, so what, fuck that.
Art is a community that enables the audience and creator to really question society, to passionately reject norms, to show a utopian world, just for a moment, often captured in stills and feats eternally.
How to See Art? Art of Seeing part 15, is an event being organised by Cobalt Blue Foundation, hosted by Sundeep Verma – an author, graphic novelist and storyteller, and Ruchi – a visual artist, art therapist and counselling psychologist. Together they engage in three hours of conversation about art – to understand the value and principles of different pieces of visual art, the effects it generates on our subconscious, also about art in general as a medium influencing society and the world.
The fifteenth such art meet, to talk, discuss, sketch and analyse art will take place at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi next week.
"India is a place of diverse and glorious history and no matter how millennial we are, the strings of our hearts are still puppeteered by Sufi Music on certain days of peace. Soulful melodies of the ustaads still forge goosebumps on our skin, more than any other music genre! If you belong to this particular crowd and you live in Delhi or nearby, we have some news so keep reading."
While keeping this crowd in mind, some good folks from Cobalt Blue Foundation have arranged a session of storytelling & Sufi music with the dohas of Saint Kabir on the eve of Kabir Jayanti, whose literature still keeps us hooked!
Attend this event on the 16th of June at Sangeeta Gupta Art Gallery, 5pm onwards and we promise that this will be the much needed stress-buster before starting off your week again! The Chief Guest for the evening will be Sangeeta Gupta who is an ex-principle Commissioner of Income Tax, a poet & an artist.
A philosopher, saint and an artist, Saint Kabir was also a weaver who used to weave threads and words. He is still hailed as one of the most influential poets & mystics of India and after you surf through a few pages of his writings, you’ll be a follower soon! We truly believe that the stories of this spiritual saint needs to be talked about more in the present society so join in on the smooth voyage of a serene evening!
Kabir: The Mysticism of Love by Cobalt Blue Foundation. Storytellers: Sundeep Verma & Ruchi Ruuh